Chinese President Xi Jinping (R) meets with Mongolian Prime Minister Jargaltulga Erdenebat at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, May 12, 2017. (Xinhua/Liu Weibing)
ULAN BATOR, June 6 (Xinhua) -- Mongolian Foreign Minister Tsend Munkh-Orgil said on Monday that Mongolia would be able to implement the structural reforms it has agreed to undergo with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), according to Nikkei Asian Review website.
"I am confident that the resources and money that will be lent to the Mongolian government will be used effectively to overcome the temporary economic problems," Munkh-Orgil said on the sidelines of the International Conference on The Future of Asia in Tokyo.
The resource-rich country has benefited from a commodities boom over the last 15 years or so. But a subsequent commodity price slump, investment outflows and slowing demand in key export markets have hit Mongolia's economy hard.
Last month, the IMF approved a three-year, 434-million-U.S. dollar loan for Mongolia as part of a wider 5.5 billion-dollar aid package which is also supported by Japan, South Korea, China, the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.
The agreement was reached after the IMF admitted that Mongolia had met some of its demands, including raising taxes and cutting spending.
Some observers, however, questioned the ability of the Mongolian government to carry through the painful structural reforms needed to put the economy back on track.
But Munkh-Orgil said the reforms were inevitable. "With or without the IMF, we know that we must undertake these reforms. We have expanded fiscally -- a lot. We have stretched ourselves on [the] budget. We have reached unsustainable levels of government debt," he said.
The government is trying to respond through fiscal consolidation, and by bringing the budget under control, the minister said.
Mongolia aims to reduce the budget deficit, currently equivalent to 17 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP), to 10.2 percent by the end of this year. It aims to have a budget deficit equal to around 2 percent of the GDP by 2022.
"For the next several decades, the mining sector will continue to be the central linchpin of the Mongolian economy," Munkh-Orgil said, "But at the same time, mining is a very capricious animal. (The) fortunes and misfortunes of the mining sector can go up and down unexpectedly."
Mongolia is ready to diversify its economy, which currently relies on minerals for 90 percent of its export revenue, he said.
"We need to bring in more products, (put) more industries in play," the foreign minister said, "We need to engage the public and businesses in other areas that employ more people and bring more export revenues, like agriculture and tourism."